Road warrior: Iannetta delivering at plate

New Mariners catcher has found plenty of success away from Safeco

Road warrior: Iannetta delivering at plate

NEW YORK -- Catcher Chris Iannetta, acquired in part because of his solid career on-base percentage, continued holding up his end of that bargain in grand fashion as the Mariners stayed hot on the road with a 7-1 win over the Yankees in Friday's series opener.

Iannetta provided the big bash with a two-run homer in the fifth, but he also reached base in his other three at-bats as well while going 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs.

While Iannetta struggled like the rest of his teammates in the Mariners' first homestand, he's now posted an .857 (6-for-7) batting average and a .909 on-base percentage in four road games.

Clearly Iannetta would like to improve on his early .111 home average, but the scorching success on the road has him hitting .320 with a .452 OBP in his first 10 games, and that hot start is welcomed by a veteran who got off to an awful April last season with the Angels.

"It feels better to do well than being 6-for-70," Iannetta said. "That was a rough stretch."

And, yes, getting off to a better start has been on his mind since long before he even signed with Seattle in the offseason.

"It weighed on me from the beginning of last season, all through last season, through my workouts in the offseason, every day in Spring Training," said the 33-year-old. "It was definitely on my mind, it was definitely not what I wanted to do."

Iannetta's RBI single

Even now, Iannetta is attempting to ignore the big numbers on the board and just focus on each at-bat.

"I feel good," he said. "It's early. I came in provably hitting .220 and now I'm hitting [.320]. A hit here and there is going to be a big swing. But to really focus on statistics now is not the best thing to do. For me, I'm just focusing on how I feel. And I feel good with the work I'm putting in. I feel like I'm seeing it well. And if those two things are going in the right direction, then I'm happy."

Manager Scott Servais appreciates the difficulty of handling a new pitching staff while also producing at the plate.

"This was a really, really good night for Chris," Servais said. "He's in a good spot, just where he's at mentally, he feels good about his swing. He's learning our pitching staff. Nights like tonight can be tough on a catcher when you're trying to grind through innings like that with the starter."

Iannetta not only guided Nathan Karns to his first Mariners win, he provided the offense with his second homer of the season putting Seattle up 3-1 in the fifth and his RBI single in the eighth proving another insurance run.

"That's the name of the game for me," he said. "I want to contribute. I want to win. Winning is first and foremost. But I don't feel like a baseball player unless I contribute to that. Any time I can do that I'm happy."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.